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Subject: Tie-breaker Concern rss

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Bob Flaherty
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The rules state that in the case of a tie at the end of the ninth turn, the person with the most armies in reserve takes the win. Both games I have played with my wife have ended in a tie, and in both instances I have had the most armies in my reserve. The reason is she spanked me in the ninth round, controlling much of China - claiming the resources (but not enough for a win). This expended the majority of her armies while at the same time putting armies into my reserve. In both cases it was my aggressive play early that allowed this to happen as I did not have enough resources to stave off her final attack. In my mind, she outplayed me yet lost. I have a problem with the tiebreaker as written and was curious to hear the comments of others or maybe ways that it could be reworked.

Thanks,
YL
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Eric
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I agree with your concern. Since this an area-majority game and there is an odd number of areas, it seems to me that the tie-breaker could simply be the count of areas owned.

In our few plays, my wife and I have yet to tie, but all games have been close.
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Jeremy Carlson
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Wow. I have played this game about 30 times, and I haven't seen a tie once. The only way to have a tie, is if the score marker is on the zero. Is this really happening? And twice for you guys?
 
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Bob Flaherty
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@ hughthehand:
Yep, two in a row

I took a snippit of your post on my session report where I comment about the ties (hope you don't mind )
Quote:

I think the intent was, you are rewarded with the win, because you need less men to do the same thing. Which seems fair, in my opinion.


I understand how the mechanic should work and in other games with similar mechanics I haven't had this particular issue crop up. Maybe our case(es) is(are) just bizzare. However, both times have been similar (hmmm, maybe I should employ a different strategy) - I have a lead, my wife dominates in the last scoring round using up her armies and sending mine back to my stock pile, so better planning on her part lost her the game?

I guess maybe a simple solution (at least a house rule as we have had two ties) would be as already provided - look at control next. If the tie still exists, then look at armies left. This would tend to put the victory conditions in perspective:
1st score more points than your opponent (or score 10 more first). This is the primary objective. However, if tied, then
2nd look at area controls. This would balance out the issue my wife and I seem to be having, where my aggressive initial play is counterbalanced by her coup de gras at the end. I still feel, she managed the total game better than I did - she didn't let me win with ten and conqured China in the end. I won based on the rule, but don't feel that I played the game better (but that could just be me). If still tied, then
3rd evaluate the number of armies left. At this point, IMO, that becomes a valid tie-breaker. If your resources are tied at the end and control of China is tied at the end, then who ever has the most armies in reserve achieved the same end with fewer armies.

One thing is for sure, when playing against my wife I should be ready for her final strike.

YL
 
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The root of all evil ...but you can call me cookie.
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(I actually wrote my post this morning before work...and seems like I hit preview and not submit as I frantically flew out the door. SO here it is anyway, even though some of this has already been said!)

I like this fast little 2 player game (not enough of those around) a lot and while I've yet to end a game in a tie I can see where you are coming from. I think I can argue both sides of your comment too, so here's some quick thoughts.

1. Winner of a tie is the person who at the end of the game controls the majority of territories. Simple and straight forward way of handling it.

2. Winner of the a tie is the person who at the end of the game has the most armies deployed into territories they control. I personally kind of like this one as it wouldn't reward controling a territory too much if you only have 2 armies in it. That might be enough to swing the game but still gives you reason to bulk up in a tight game in a territory you already control.

Well that's for alternatives to the tie breaker. Now my thoughts on the rules as written. Their idea behind the reserves being the breaker is that IF the game were to continue the player with most in reserves would be the one to hand out the next butt whipping as they'd be the one with a lot of power. I think it also is a measure to reward over all game play. If you wife kicked your butt in the 9th round each time but still only managed to bring the score to a tie and not into her winning range then this say you had the score token signifcantly in your favor prior to the 9th round. By giving you the win the game rewards your game play in the earlier rounds.

Well that's my take on it anyway.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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YellowLab wrote:
However, both times have been similar (hmmm, maybe I should employ a different strategy) - I have a lead, my wife dominates in the last scoring round using up her armies and sending mine back to my stock pile, so better planning on her part lost her the game?


How do you figure it's better planning if she keeps losing when she does it? I mean, I understand telling her that (I might do the same), but I can't see why a plan that consistently loses should be considered 'good'.
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Paul Sauberer
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Sphere wrote:
YellowLab wrote:
However, both times have been similar (hmmm, maybe I should employ a different strategy) - I have a lead, my wife dominates in the last scoring round using up her armies and sending mine back to my stock pile, so better planning on her part lost her the game?


How do you figure it's better planning if she keeps losing when she does it? I mean, I understand telling her that (I might do the same), but I can't see why a plan that consistently loses should be considered 'good'.


I also don't see why she is considered to have played better. The goal of the game is not to end up with greater control at the end of the game, it is to achieve more control over the 9 turns of the game as a whole.

If someone has to expend more resources at the end of the game just to claw back and achieve a tie, I don't see how that is superior play. I think that the tie-breaker as it now stands makes sense.
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Alan Newman
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Wow. Hard to believe the tiebreak has generated this much controversy.

All I can say is I considered other methods, such as area control, and all seemed less-than-optimal. I don't believe there is a perfect solution and of course, that is the nature of war. If the fight is that close, there are no real winners.

That said, if you believe a "house" rule gives you greater satisfaction in a tie scenario, by all means, use it.

But I will reiterate, that other options were considered and I thought the present rule, as Paul Sauberer states, "makes sense."

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Bob Flaherty
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Okay, I admit maybe my games were a little extreme. A lot of good points have been put up...

thoia wrote:
Now my thoughts on the rules as written. Their idea behind the reserves being the breaker is that IF the game were to continue the player with most in reserves would be the one to hand out the next butt whipping as they'd be the one with a lot of power.

I have to disagree with this line of thinking. Even if you have a majority of pieces in reserve, it does not mean you will come out the victor in the next round. It all depends on your deployment versus your opponent's. This is what happened to me on turns 7-9. My wife had kept her suicide attacks (+2, +3) for these rounds - I had more armies, but couldn't place them.

Psauberer wrote:
I also don't see why she is considered to have played better. The goal of the game is not to end up with greater control at the end of the game, it is to achieve more control over the 9 turns of the game as a whole.

If someone has to expend more resources at the end of the game just to claw back and achieve a tie, I don't see how that is superior play. I think that the tie-breaker as it now stands makes sense.


True, and maybe my case is a little extreme. Maybe it is I played poorer, or felt I played poorer because A) I didn't win prior to the ninth dynasty only accumulating 7 VP, B) I didn't have the proper cards still available (by the 7th or 8th round all cards should have been drawn) to stave off my wife from accumulating 7 VP in the final three rounds because I had played too aggressively. After nine rounds, how can you say that I or my wife had more control over nine turns, I had +5, +2, and she had +7 - we had equal control after nine turns.

Again, maybe my cases are a little extreme. How about this hypothetical match between two very experienced players...
Turns 1-3 very close, black gets +1 VP
Turns 4-6 very close, white gets +2 VP (marker now +1 toward white)
Turns 7-9 very close, black gets +1 VP ending in a tie.
Question - who is the better player and deserves the win?

No one had more control over the nine rounds, they are tied, as were my wife and I. It is hard to say who expended the most resources to achieve the victory, if you only look at the ninth round.

For instance, in the hypothetical let's add some more information:
Turn 3 - black six armies in reserve, white eight armies in reserve
Turn 6 - black six armies in reserve, white two armies in reserve
Turn 9 - black four armies in reserve, white six armies in reserve

After turn three, the black player had to expend two more armies than white for one VP. After turn three, the white player expended four more armies than black for two VP's. After turn nine, black came back but had to expend two more armies than white to complete the task - battling whites armies back to the reserve. In the end black has fewer armies but look closer:
Turn 3 - +2 armies / +1 VP black
Turn 6 - +4 armies / +2 VP white
Turn 9 - +2 armies / +1 VP black

While this is contrived, it brings out a point that looking at resources in the final round makes the expenditure in the early years moot, which I think doesn't reward patient or clever end-game play. The game, if not won in round three or six, takes nine tuns to play. In the contrived case, each VP gain cost the player 2 more armies expended than their opponent, an armies expended to VP won ratio of 2. Tweak the numbers a little to leave black with five armies, he still looses (5 vs 6); however, it could be argued overall he played better because the last vp cost him only one army for one VP. Or tweaking the armies to 7 and 8 in turn three - black expended less resources per VP, but that was in an earlier round.

I know I am making it more complicated than it should be, but I don't like to win a game in this manner, and my wife is confused as well. She played her cards right in the final rounds to not lose outright, conqured most of China, sent my armies home and lost because she sent too many home. In the last round of our last game she controlled four of the five provinces and the fifth was uncontrolled.

Since many people have played many more games than I and not experinced a tie, maybe a tie is that - a tie. I like that rule best.

Thanks for all the input and discussion.

YL
 
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John Roach
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Now I haven't really thought this through but I'll throw it in for discussion.

Keep the number of armies in the player's reserves as the tie breaker but do not recycle armies lost in the final round back into the reserve instead discard them to the box (assume that they are destroyed or in disarray). In this way players who perform badly in the final round are not rewarded in the event of a tie break being necessary.

Great game by the way.
 
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Andrew Brown
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I think one usefulness of the current tie-breaker is that it rewards a player who was able to either A) use fewer 6's and/or not use the +2/+3 cards and still achieve equal control and potentially B) trade some of his or her white cards in for armies from the reserve throughout the game.

Seen in this light, I would suggest that the player who finishes with more armies in reserve, i.e. the player who sustained equal control while utilizing fewer high-powered cards, is deemed the better player (or at least the winner).

Remember, if this is the rule then the better player is the one that applies it most effectively. Therefore, attacking sooner and being able to hold on for the tie is elevated above waiting out the first rounds and attacking aggressively in the end. However...only if it ends in a tie. Otherwise...

Another cog in the wheel though. I just finished a game that was one province from a tie AND both players finished with NO armies in reserve. Hmm...

(I apparently like ellipses )
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